Swansea City’s plans for the 2021/22 season are in full flow following their play-off final heartache against Brentford.
The Swans are expected to lose several players this week when they confirm their retained list.
As such, transfer targets have been identified and are now being pursued in a bid to ensure the squad is as competitive as possible come August.
But there are several youngsters already at the club who look set to have more prominent roles with Swansea in the future.
Goalkeeper Freddie Woodman has regularly spoken about his love for Swansea City during his two loan spells from Newcastle United.
Following last weekend’s 2-0 loss to Brentford at Wembley, Woodman admitted he hoped he had not played his final game for the Swans.
“It’s probably been the best two years of my life playing here. I’ve fallen in love with the place and developed so much,” he said.
“I hope this isn’t the last game I play in a Swansea shirt.”
Swansea signed Ben Hamer from Huddersfield Town in January, although Steven Benda could well earn the No.1 jersey should Woodman not return for a third time from Newcastle.
The German is highly regarded by those at Fairwood and impressed in his loan spell with Swindon Town during the 2019/20 season.
Hamer has one year left to run on his Swansea contract and could well be back up to Benda who is expected to be given the chance to shine should another move for Woodman fail to materialise.
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Marc Guehi leaves a gaping hole in defence having returned to Chelsea following 18 months with the Swans, but his departure will pave the way for Joel Latibeaudiere and Brandon Cooper to become more prominent figures.
Cooper earned rave reviews during his loan spell with Newport County in the opening half of the 2020/21 season but suffered two setbacks after returning to the Swans in January.
He made his league debut for the club as a late substitute in the 2-1 win over Derby County at the Liberty Stadium, and head coach Steve Cooper recently sung the defender’s praises after he sustained an ankle injury in training.
“Unfortunately Brandon Cooper picked up an injury that’s ruled him out for a couple of months,” said the Swansea boss.
“He’s a good young player we like. He’s one for next season really.”
As for Latibeaudiere, he made 10 appearances in his debut season at Swansea. There were some real glimpses of class that have been instilled in the 21-year-old from his time at Manchester City.
His versatility is also a major plus – with Latibeaudiere capable of playing centrally while he can also operate at right-back, which could be vital should Connor Roberts move on to pastures new.
Tivonge Rushesha was expected to gain experience in cup competitions last season, although his campaign was cruelly cut short when he suffered an ACL injury in December.
The 18-year-old is edging his way back to full fitness and is bidding to use pre-season to ensure he can be involved again from the early stages of the new season.
Rushesha has of course already made his senior debut, with Cooper sending on the promising right-back during the Swans’ 6-0 Carabao Cup triumph over Cambridge United in August 2019.
Further up the pitch, Swansea will no doubt look to bolster their attacking options.
But Ollie Cooper is one man who will be bidding to impress sufficiently enough to nail down a regular berth in the starting XI.
The 21-year-old made five first team appearances for the Swans in the latter half of the 2020/21 season and netted his first senior goal for the club in the 5-1 FA Cup fourth round win over Nottingham Forest in January.
Cooper recently suffered an ankle injury in training but – like with striker Liam Cullen – will expect to be a more prominent figure next season.
Andre Ayew and Wayne Routledge look set to depart Swansea in the near future, and it paves the way for Cullen to establish himself as the club’s first choice forward – despite the fact the forward positions are where the Swans are determined to strengthen in the transfer window.
Jordon Garrick and George Byers will return following loan spells with Swindon Town and Portsmouth respectively while January capture Morgan Whittaker, Cameron Evans, Ali Al-Hamadi, Josh Thomas and Dan Williams are among those also in the frame to push for squad places.
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